This growth comes on the heels of Spangler’s purchase of two iconic candy brands—Sweethearts and NECCO Wafers. The brands and equipment only were obtained following a series of transactions precipitated by the New England Confectionery Co. (NECCO) bankruptcy.
“The combination of Dum-Dums, candy canes, Sweethearts and NECCO Wafers will make Spangler a stronger company within the global confectionery market and will be a catalyst for growth. Our new brands and our campus expansion will have direct benefits to our consumers, customers, suppliers, employees and the communities where we do business,” said Spangler Chairman and CEO Kirk Vashaw.
In recent years, the campus has provided space for local businesses, including the Activate Health Clinic, Gendron and Alex Products. Among the planned renovations is an expansion of the Activate clinic, which provides private family healthcare services to employees of Spangler and three other local business entities. Gendron also will continue to operate in the facility.
Work on the new campus will be continuing for some time, according to Vashaw, who notes that significant renovations are needed to bring the facilities up to food grade standards. The company plans to relaunch NECCO Wafers next year and Sweethearts the following year.
“There are a lot of manufacturing challenges and unanswered questions at this point, and we want to make sure these brands meet consumer expectations when they re-enter the market,” said Vashaw. “We look forward to announcing the Sweethearts relaunch for the 2020 Valentine season and hope to reintroduce NECCO Wafers to the marketplace in 2019. Sweethearts and NECCO Wafers are iconic brands with rich hundred-year-plus histories. These are perfect additions to our portfolio of traditional candies. We are particularly excited about the Sweethearts brand. Many people have memories of sorting through their box of Sweethearts to find just the right message to share.”
Sweethearts, created in 1901, is known for its heart-shaped candies imprinted with messages such as “Be Mine,” “Miss You” and “Love Me.” Through the years, Sweethearts has reflected cultural changes through updated and retired sayings such as “Call me,” “Fax me,” “Text me” and “Tweet Me.”
NECCO Wafers date back to 1847, when Oliver Chase, an English immigrant, invented a lozenge-cutting machine with which he produced the wafers. They were a popular treat for soldiers during the Civil War and later for World War II soldiers overseas because the wafers were easy to transport and did not melt.
In addition to Sweethearts and NECCO Wafers, the company also will manufacture Canada Mints on the same equipment.
Spangler Candy Co. has been family-owned and -operated in Bryan, Ohio, since 1906. Its brands include Dum-Dums, Saf-T-Pops and Spangler Circus Peanuts.